Time for an upate.

My most recent write-up (aside from this one, once I've published it) is January 23, 2015. I didn't mean to wait so long before posting again, but since I did, I may as well review everything that has happened in the past year.

I have dealt with most of the issues I had with my mother. The worst of my anger is gone. I know how to deal with her now. 

I'm still seeing the same man. We've been living together for 8 months now. It doesn't feel like that much time has passed, which is a good sign probably. 

I left the job that I hated. Now I'm between jobs. I work 3 mornings a week cleaning a retail store before it opens. When I see managers working there who are my age it makes me feel kind of pathetic, but then I remember how horrible my last job was and you know what, I'd rather clean toilets than ever go back to my old job. 

There are two job opportunities coming up for me soon. There is a good chance that I will get them both. One is a full-time contract for 3 months which involves putting computer parts together for minimum wage. Believe it or not, I am actually excited about that. I get to finish at 3:30pm. A job with decent hours and a normal work atmosphere is a dream come true. The other job is part-time hours and work from home telecommuting, which I am only 98% positive is legit, but what the hell, let's live dangerously and see what happens. 

Now for this next bit of information. My moods are worrisome at the moment. My doctor has prescribed medication for me again. Yay. On the bright side, I actually have a family doctor now. No more going into walk-in clinics and having uncomfortable conversations with doctors who aren't always sensitive. I am also talking to someone again. It is free at the clinic. Simply having professional support makes me feel immensely better. I'm hoping to improve even more in the spring (winter is the hardest for me), and working full-time again will also help.

I'm feeling optimistic about my writing. I'm mostly writing blog posts. A company has noticed my site and offered to send me free samples of their product in exchange for a review. I was actually considering buying from them anyway, so it works out well. It is a small thing, but enough to make me feel excited. Isn't it funny how we can type something into a little box on our computer, click the "publish" button, and have it reach so many different types of people? I think so. Look what can happen. I think I'm getting good enough at blogging to submit my posts for paid syndication. 

That's it for now. My cat is curled up in a brown furry ball, sleeping in her cat tree. The fridge is humming and the clock is ticking loudly. There is an empty can of coconut water on the round, glass-topped coffee table. My feet are cold even though I am wearing thick fuzzy socks. It is 3am and I need to wake up in two and a half hours. Being a night owl can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. Well, at least tomorrow is Friday.

I am almost home.

My Uncle on my father's side died. He had a progressive chronic illness and so it was sad and a blessing too. His wife had come out for my father's memorial. I wanted to go to his, to see all the cousins and family on my father's side. We spent more time with my mother's family when I was little, and with my parents and sister gone, I miss family.

But....it was in Fredricksburg, Virginia. I decided Thursday. I got tickets with plane changes, flying in via JFK. I thought a red eye on Saturday would get me to the east coast and then I'd be delayed. Oooops, then the storm decided to hit NYC too. So that plane was cancelled and I was rerouted for Sunday am at 6:20. I live two hours from Seattle, so I left Saturday night and got a "park and fly" room at La Quinta Inn. Flew at 6:20 the next morning to Atlanta. The plane to Washington National Airport, aka Reagan, was cancelled. I called a friend and admitted I was stranded. I went to the desk and they offered to fly me to Reagan on Wednesday. I shook my head, "Funeral Wednesday, so fly me home if you can't get me there. I'm willing to go to Dulles, but would rather not go to BWI." This time I had bought the travel insurance. They put me on a flight at 7:20 the next morning to Dulles.

And I stayed with strangers, now friends. It was lovely.

Flew in to Dulles. My friend B. picked me up amidst two feet of snow and five foot plowed piles. "I've never seen the roads so empty," he said. We went to his Arlington house and spent the day sledding with his wife and 7 year old. His road was one lane, down from two. Things were very much closed.

On tuesday he loaned me a car and I drove north to Gaithersburg, Maryland first. I visited my ex-husband's mother. Part of the reason I made the crazy trip is that she is 90 and I've been wanting to get back to see her but it's been hard to schedule. That was lovely too. The roads were pretty clear except the five lanes of beltway would suddenly narrow to one lane, with heavy equipment trying to move snow around. So the danger was mostly the going from 65 mph to 5 mph and frightening bottleneck merges.

Then I drove south. About 2.5 hours, from Gaithersburg, Maryland to Fredricksburg, Virginia. Again, scary heavy equipment and slowdowns to traffic barely moving. The government was still cancelled. I got to my aunt's.

Memorial on Wednesday, also lovely. I saw my other aunt and uncle, two cousins, their spouses, their four children, their spouses and significant others and two great grandchildren. An episcopalian service, and many of the grandchildren taking part in the service. It was quite beautiful. I was the photographer for the first half, with my aunt's camera. Her husband's sister's daughter took it for the reception. We managed about 150 photos between us.

Thursday back on the road north. I left at 9:30. Arlington about 11:00, and B took me to National Airport. Plane to Dallas, change and plane to Seattle. In at 7:30 west coast time and off to La Quinta Inn, but I got a room and crashed, no energy left to make the drive. Up early this am to catch the first ferry and I will go to work. Concert tonight in Port Angeles, hope I can find a ride. I don't want to do that drive either.

Blessings all and deep thanks to Atlanta and to all the friends who helped.

A quick update on what's been going on lately. My organizational binder hasn't worked the way I thought it would. I suspect I crammed too many things into it instead of keeping it very simple. I turned it into a creative art project with a lot of detail and color which is fine, but not functional. What has worked for me better than I thought it would is my finance binder which consists of my bills, envelopes for weekly receipts, and a looseleaf sheet of paper where I write the date, where I was when I spent the money, and keep a running balance of what I've spent compared to how much money is in my checking, savings, and clothing and shoes account that I use to buy things for the girls.

This system has evolved over the past month. At some point I'd like to go through and make it more streamlined, but I have a test to be studying for so that will have to wait. Yesterday I did some errands. I felt very unproductive and lazy even though my tires needed to be rotated and my car aligned. I feel as if I spent foolishly buying an expensive smoothie when I could have packed a breakfast for myself. I ate lunch with my mom and realized that even two meals away from home were hard on my digestive system and overall mood. I tried reading in the cafe, but I was very distracted so I didn't get much accomplished there. Surprisingly I got a lot more done reading in the car, probably because I had good music, and fewer distractions. 

I keep things out in the open so I can see and find them more easily, but they contribute to visual clutter. It's unlikely that I'm going to forget where my books are if they're all in one place. I had this fear of turning into my dad who was a hoarder. As a result I thought my best course of action was to back up every book I owned and donate them all. Fortunately that moment passed and I was able to go through my books and put them in bins. I would like to put the books in one place, but there's no timeline on that so it will have to go on my list of things to do at some future point in time. Part of the problem is my bookcase is full. My daughter is using my larger bookcase. I'd like to give her the dresser and smaller bookcase, I rearrange things so often it gets tiresome for people who live with me.

School has been going well despite my lack of technical skill in lab. I'm much better at the book part which is understanding what I'm supposed to be learning in lab. It's frustrating, but I really love the subject matter despite how overwhelming it can be. We skip around in the book which bothers me, I try to read the chapters we're assigned, but all too often I find myself doing things like sorting pictures for seven hours, leaving the unfinished project on the family room floor, and worrying that I won't have mastered the material I need to get a 70% on the test which I might be able to get without studying since I've already taken anatomy and listened to the lecture which is how I learn best.

Last night I was able to get the girls to do the dishes. I started making califlower soup late at night so there were still dishes on the counter this morning that the girls did before school. It was great that they didn't argue although it made my morning stressful when I felt as if they weren't getting on them fast enough. I hung a load of laundry while they were upstairs. After two melatonin and an early night I woke up before six and took a bath, yet I still wasn't ready when I wanted to be. Part of that is my skin is so dry I have to put a lot of oil on it and then I don't want to get my clothes greasy so I wait to get dressed. Laying out my clothes the night before helps, I tried putting four outfits together in bins. It helped somewhat, but was encouraging. 

Today the girls are meeting a new therapist. Neither of them want to go, perhaps the appointments aren't necessary, I guess I'll find out when we're there. I'm listening to the Moody Blues. I find that while I really like music that's more lively, calmer softer music tends to slow my mind down a bit. I threw out a squash instead of making it. At the grocery store they were on sale. I knew they weren't fresh when I bought them, that was another lesson learned. Yesterday I checked out some books on bipolar disorder which was progress. I've flipped through a couple, enjoying them all, but ended up spending the most time on a book on schizophrenia. I'm really looking forward to school tomorrow. I have my scrubs ready to go, lunch options, and I had fun reading which will hopefully also be true today.

Feels good to be taking the time to write this despite the incredible anxiety.

Take care,

Jess 

I saw one of the best horror movies I've ever seen. Not necessarily the movie as a whole, but there's one segment therein that is so brilliant I am sharing it.

Obviously spoilers ahoy, but it really really is worth the look.

It's a segment in a movie called "V/H/S" called "Amateur Night" - and it's truly, truly, horrific. Describing it doesn't do the piece justice, it's worth watching.

V/H/S is a series that does portmanteau horror through "found footage" - either someone makes a documentary, or skateboarders put on GoPros or what have you. And in Amateur Night, a nebbish youth attached to two more outgoing frat boys is fitted with a set of spy-glasses that record video and audio, so if they get lucky he can record what they get up to.

They go out clubbing to various bars - it's your typical Jaegermeister and brewskis sort of affair with the three boys going from their hotel room out to various places. One picks up a good looking young woman, and the boy in the glasses (you see the whole scene from his vantage point because of the glasses) attracts the attention of a strange looking young woman with large eyes. (Author's note: the actress in question genuinely gets your attention even though you catch her in his fleeting glance.)

The party continues along the strip and the young woman follows. There's something slightly off about her body language, and she doesn't blink. She's slightly creepy and clearly very shy. She sits down at a small tree when they're all outside one bar and when the group's class clown goes to sit with her, she leaps up. She clearly finds him offputting, and attaches herself to the nebbish boy. She's clearly shy and works up the courage to tell him: "I like you."

In the car, she's sitting quietly in one corner while the other girl they've picked up points out vociferously SHE chose to go with THEM, they did not "score" with her.
It's clear they're going back to the motel: three boys, two girls. Cut to the hotel room, where the prettier girl is making out with one guy on one bed, the clown of the group is laughing on the couch, and the creepy girl is lying in the other bed, clearly waiting for the nebbish boy, who makes to the bathroom to look at himself in the mirror and get up the courage to participate in the whole affair.

The pretty girl passes out, and the guy is so drunk he continues to try to make out with her a while, but the others protest that she's passed out and it would NOT be cool to continue. He tries to wake her up, and then moves to make a move on the creepy girl, who seems compliant. He pulls off her dress revealing her to be totally naked underneath, and she looks questioningly at the guy in the glasses as he starts to make out with her, appealing to him somehow. She doesn't appear to mind, but she wants to include the guy she likes. She flips the guy over on top of her, and straddles him, pulling in the boy she likes to her, to kiss him with what appears to be a blackening tongue.

The nebbish boy gets some nerves and is clearly uncomfortable with how this is going, so he starts to pull away to steal away to the bathroom to rally himself. The guy on the couch starts to undress and she scowls and angrily hisses "NO!" at the target of her affections, hiking her head towards the couch. He leaves nonetheless repairs to the bathroom to regroup, at which point the jokester smashes his way into the bathroom past our hero, bleeding from his hand where she practically bit a chunk out of him.

Naked and angry, the guy charges back to yell at the girl, our hero in pursuit suggesting this isn't a good idea. However by this time the skin on her back is blackening as well, and as she turns to the camera we see her forehead has split open revealing a third eye, and fang-like teeth. As they run back to the bathroom in fear and lock themselves in they hear the piteous screams of the man underneath her being torn apart by her claws.

They decide to make a break for it, the boy in the glasses trying to slap the unconscious girl awake to take her with them. The guy whose hand is bitten tries to attack the increasingly non-human looking girl with a curtain rod and dies horribly for his efforts. The guy with the glasses flees, screaming in terror and asking anyone and everyone for help, but nobody is interested in getting involved.

The girl corners him in a hallway after he falls down some stairs, unable to walk. She reiterates that she likes him, and tries to make it up to him by fellating him. But he's terrified and she finally realizes he doesn't reciprocate her feelings. "No like?" she says, pityingly, and then metamorphoses into a batlike creature, which picks him up - the last images we see are him being pulled into the air, screaming, and then the glasses fall from his face briefly showing him in her talons as she flies away with him. The glasses smash to the parking lot asphalt. End scene.

There are several BRILLIANT points about this scene.

1) The boys are not seen as villains. Even though they're not exactly being that politically correct in going out and getting laid capturing it all on camera, they don't force themselves on anyone, and though they're loud and obnoxious - they're not portrayed as evil or deserving death as most of these kinds of scenes usually portray them as. When it's clear the girl has passed out, they cease immediately making out with her - noting that they inadvertently crossed a line.

2) The "dating gone wrong" story is usually a girl who picks up the wrong guy. This isn't just a "man bites dog" story - it's a recognition that a disastrous one-night stand type affair is as much a risk for one gender as the other.

3) The GIRL isn't a villain. And the actress? Her acting is fantastic. Even after she's torn a man to pieces, you can't help but feel sorry for her: she's fallen hard for the hero and she's deeply, deeply wounded by his rejection. It's a testament to the actress' skill that even made up to look like a horror show, when she turns away from him, crying, you actually feel for her even though there's a dude's blood all over her.

It's a horror in the grand scheme, and a tragedy writ large. Two totally dissimilar people meet, both trying to be something they're not, and the meeting of both worlds ends in heartbreak, terror, and gore.

Stories like this are absolute gems in a larger morass of dreck. Check it out if you're into that kind of thing. Wow.

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